Campaign Communications

Note: The Advertising Disclaimer Charts currently displayed are effective through December 31, 2017. Due to the passage of the Disclose Act (AB 249), new disclaimer rules will be in effect January 1, 2018. Revised charts will be posted before then. Below is a link comparing the current rules with the new rules. 

Political Advertisement Disclaimers

See the Political Advertising Disclaimer Chart for information on what disclaimers are required for campaign advertisements.  

The disclaimer portion of the ad identifies the person or entity who paid for or authorized the communication so that potential voters may know who is funding campaign advertisements.  The Political Reform Act requires specific disclaimers for certain types of communications.  For example, candidates for all elections in California must include "paid for by" disclaimers on campaign mailings.

Please note that disclaimers must be updated in a timely manner if the committee name changes and/or if there are new $50,000 donors.  For more information see our Campaign Disclosure Manuals.

 

Reporting Advertisement Expenses

In addition to including proper disclaimers on political advertisements, candidates are also required to disclose advertising expenses and contributions on their campaign reports.  Please note that more than one report may be required.  For more information, see the appropriate filing schedules and our Campaign Disclosure Manuals.

Communication by candidate committee for himself/herself
Form 460, Schedule E
Communication by candidate committee against opponent
Form 460, Schedule E
Communication by other committee for candidate (coordinated with candidate)
Form 460, Schedule C
Communication by other committee for candidate (NOT coordinated with candidate)
No reporting required by candidate

Additionally, in general, no reporting is necessary for the following activities so long as no payments are made to or by the candidate committee.

  • Endorsements
  • Political debates
  • Regularly scheduled organizational meetings where a candidate is invited to speak
  • Member-only communications such as newsletters
  • Voter registration and Get-Out-the-Vote activities

 

Other Advertising Issues

Certain issues concerning political advertisments do not fall within the purview of the Political Reform Act.  Please see the links below for more information.

Sign Placement

Contact local elections officials for information on posting signs in local jurisdictions.  To place signs near freeways, contact the California Department of Transportation website for information about the State Outdoor Advertising Act.

Vandalism of Campaign Signs

Contact your local district attorney or city attorney.

False or Misleading Advertisements

Contact the Secretary of State's Investigative Services Unit at (916) 653-4245.

Unwanted Political Calls

Visit the Federal Trade Commission website to register for the "Do Not Call" list.

 

Advertising Violations

To file a complaint about a violation of campaign advertisement disclaimer rules, visit the Enforcment page of FPPC's website.  Please note that committees and their candidates and treasurers may be fined up to $5000 per violation.  These types of complaints are some of the most common filed with the FPPC. 

The following are from the Political Reform Act and FPPC Regulations.

Important Definitions

Section 82031             Independent Expenditure
Section 82041.5          Mass Mailing
Section 82048.3          Slate Mailer
Section 84106             Sponsored Committee; Identification
Section 84107             Ballot Measure Committee; Identification
Regulation 18435        Mass Mailing and Sender
Regulation 18450.1     Definitions. Advertisement Disclosure

 

Mass Mailings/Slate Mailers/Phone Calls

Section 84305             Requirements for Mass Mailing
Section 84310             Identification Requirements for Telephone Calls
Regulation 18901.1     Campaign Related Mailings Sent at Public Expense

 

Advertisements

Section 84501              Advertisement
Section 84502              Cumulative Contributions
Section 84503              Disclaimer; Ballot Measure Ads
Section 84504              Ballot Measure Committee Names
Section 84505              Avoidance of Disclosure
Section 84506              Disclaimer; Independent Expenditure Ads
Section 84506.5           Disclaimer; Independent Expenditure Ads; Not Authorized by Candidate
Section 84507              Disclaimer; Legible and Audible
Section 84508              Disclaimer; Small Ad
Section 84509              Amended Disclaimers
Section 84510              Remedies for Article Violations; Civil Action; Fines
Section 84511              Ballot Measure Ads; Paid Spokesperson Disclosure
Regulation 18450.3      Committee Name Identification. Advertisement Disclosure
Regulation 18450.4      Contents of Disclosure Statements. Advertisement Disclosure
Regulation 18450.5      Amended Advertising Disclosure

 

This toolkit provides guidance and a general overview of the rules for campaigns, but it does not replace any requirements under the Political Reform Act or Fair Political Practices Commission Regulations.  Information here should be used in conjunction with a careful review of the applicable laws.